Situated where the Ribble and Holme rivers meet, the town is nestled in the Pennines about six miles south of Huddersfield.
Prior to the industrial revolution, the Holme Valley was a rural area of rolling hills, grassland and woods. Holmfirth was little more than a village. In the 1770s, the first spinning jenny was introduced into Holmfirth but by the 1850s textile mills had sprung up by the river valleys. The population was increasing and the town was becoming a commercial centre due to its booming textile industry.